One of the more time-honored experiences that a city can offer is the scene it delivers after bar time. We’ve given you our take on Istanbul’s best night foods, now we break down the best spots are to find them.
Everyone comes here for the ıslak hamburger - a delicious burger drenched in tomato sauce and then steamed for hours (make sure you keep a napkin handy). Due to the after-hours crowds, most eat standing outside, which is all part of the experience here. Wash it all down with atom, a mixed fruit smoothie that Kızılkayalar claims has been drunk for generations and head home happy.
Amongst all the döner stands near Taksim square, the clear choice of those in the know is Çılgın Dürüm. Open 24/7, the kaşar dürüm (wrap with döner meat, melted kaşar cheese, pickles, and fries) is heavenly to say the least.
Bambi in Taksim offers up a wide range of the classics including sandwiches, döner (slices of meat cut from a vertical spit and laid into a sandwich), and köfte (Turkish meatballs). More notably, however, they do a great kaşarlı dürüm with köfte, a grilled wrap with cheese and standard with Turkish meatballs.
Meşhur Ayvalık Tostcusu
If tost is what you crave, check out Meşhur Ayvalık Tostçusu on Istiklal. A heavy hitter in the late night category, they stay open 24 hours a day, so no matter how late you’re out, you can count of them to deliver the hot, grilled Panini-like sandwiches anytime.
Stumbling through the Taksim area might lead you to Susam Cafe, and the venue is most popular for drinks, such as their rum cocktails, but they’re known to do baked chocolate goods quite well. Main food finds include tost, pastas, and creative chicken or beef sautées.
Known for having a delicious Adana dürüm (spiced meat wrapped up with lettuce and tomatoes) and chicken shish, Dürümcü İrfan in Levent adds to the night scene well. A few other offerings include the likes of mussels, but we suggest sticking with their quality wrap; it’s what they do best.
Marmaris Büfe could be described as the ultimate tost haven, making it an insanely easy and tempting place to stumble to after a night at the Taksim bars. There’s no hesitation or shame about the wealth of tost options they offer: anything from goralı, a hot dog-like entity served alongside pickles and sauce to realms a bit more daring – dilli kaşarlı.
Suat Usta 33 Mersin Tantuni
Following the food trail, we next come to Suat Usta 33 Mersin Tantuni. The restaurant concentrates on tantuni, a mix of lamb or beef cooked and spiced in large pan until tender, mixed with sumac, diced tomatoes, and parsley.
If quality is on your mind when it comes to your night fare, you might consider trying Köfte Villa Located on the way to Arnavutköy in Etiler, the restaurant is known for their well-executed köfte and dürüm, as the name implies. Normal wrap form and its open-plated porsiyon itteration are available as usual.
If the night does indeed find you in Arnavutköy, do not miss Bodrum Mantı, a restaurant famous for its namesake dish (small pieces of lamb or beef wrapped in dough, steamed and draped in yogurt and spices) and çökertme (sliced beef resting on a bed of yogurt and french fries). Their true expertise, however, lies in their feriye mantı, a fried version that delivers a more crisp meal.
Şimşek Karadeniz Pidecisi Salonu
Şimşek Karadeniz Pidecisi Salonu, a delectable pide restaurant in Beyoğlu, churns out the oval-shaped treats with style and efficiency that hints at the knowledge and experience of their craft. A satisfying mix of meats and other toppings like sucuk (Turkish spicy sausage) bake to crisp perfection in their ovens.
Another jack of all trades in the late night game comes as Barış Büfe, a Kadıköy staple where you can find anything from tost and kumpir to burgers and desserts. The Bağdat Caddesi night owls flock here, so you’ll be sure to have plenty of company.
If the distinct smell and taste of kokoreç (meat culled from goat or sheep intestines, diced finely and served with a gratuitous serving of spices and tomatoes and presented in sandwich form) is on your radar, head to Şampiyon Kokoreç (with branches in Beyoğlu ,Kadıköy, and many more), the city’s experts on the meal.
Located on Kadife Sokak (where the most popular bars are located in Kadıköy) it is no surprise to find Reks Büfe where the classic fare of comfort foods are available for the late night (hungry) crowds. Try their cheeseburger and wash it down with some ayran if there are too many options to choose from.